As rumors run rampant on the dirt that Julian Assange, creator of Wikileaks, has on Bank of America, the bank frantically searches for the source of the leak and is prepping for major damage control if information is released. According to the the New York Times, Assange said he is sitting on 5GB of information from a Bank of America executive's hard drive that will expose an “ecosystem of corruption." Assange intends to dump the data in early 2011.
According to the article, rumors of Bank of America misconduct include: details of the foreclosures scandal, mortgage-backed securities controversy, or government bailout specificities. But why stop with Bank of America? Assange says he has information that could take down a bank or two. Who's next, Citigroup? JP Morgan?
Bank of America has been internally investigating the source of the leak. So far, nothing has come up to support the fact that Assange has 5GB of condemning information on Bank of America. It is possible that Assange has absolutely nothing on Bank of America and is simply attempting to create turmoil for the bank and the financial sector as a whole. However, the announcement that Assange possesses information on Bank of America was enough to depress the stock price by 3% at some points.
Julian Assange might just make TIME's Person of the Year for 2011.
Bank of America is already down almost 2% in pre-market trading after reporting disappointing earnings for the fourth quarter of 2010. Despite the fact that CEO Brian Moynihan cited the disappointing numbers as evidence of its attempts to clean the kitchen, they may certainly face some struggles this year.
An interesting bet to take is to assume Assange does have damning information on Bank of America, and thus ease into a short position in the company. If the announcement that Assange had an executive's hard drive was enough to drive the price down 3%, imagine how much the release of that information could drive down the price.
Regardless, traders and investors will be anxiously awaiting alleged information from Wikileaks that may spike shares of the "big American bank" down, whether that will be BAC or another bank.